Electron capture dissociation (ECD) in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry coupled with electrospray ionization enhances the sequence elucidation of peptide nucleic acids compared with conventional low-energy collisionally activated dissociation (CAD). Examples are shown where ECD produced complete or extensive sequence coverage in PNAs six to ten nucleobases long. However, facile base losses from the reduced species and low abundances of backbone ECD fragments presented a significant problem. This was rationalized through the lower degree of charge solvation on the backbone compared to polypeptides. Combination of both CAD and ECD data is advantageous, as these techniques produce cleavages at different sites. Copyright© 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.